Worldwide one of a kind, the Vegetable Orchestra performs on instruments made of fresh vegetables. The utilization of various ever refined vegetable instruments creates a musically and aesthetically unique sound universe.

The Vegetable Orchestra was founded in 1998. Based in Vienna, the Vegetable Orchestra plays concerts in all over the world.

There are no musical boundaries for the Vegetable Orchestra. The most diverse music styles fuse here – contemporary music, beat-oriented House tracks, experimental Electronic, Free Jazz, Noise, Dub, Clicks’n'Cuts – the musical scope of the ensemble expands consistently, and recently developed vegetable instruments and their inherent sounds often determine the direction.

- From the vegetable Orchestra’s website

Aug 312011

In Bb 2.0 is a collaborative music and spoken word project conceived by Darren Solomon (website / twitter) and developed with contributions from users. The videos can be played simultaneously — the soundtracks will work together, and the mix can be adjusted with the individual volume sliders. Learn more in the FAQ. You may also enjoy marker/music, another music, video and spoken word project, produced in collaboration with NSU in South Dakota.

Demonstration of two recreated Intonarumori (Noise Intoners) developed by Luigi russolo.

One hundred years after the founding manifesto of Futurism, Robert Worby examines the least-documented aspect of Italy’s most audacious art movement: the Art of Noises. See and hear more at

Aug 282011

Luigi Russolo
Intonarumori: Crackler (1:05) Hooter (1:42)

Luigi Russolo (1883 – 1947) was an Italian Futurist painter and composer, and the author of the manifesto The Art of Noises (1913). Russolo argued that the new complexity of the world, brought about by the industrial revolution, demanded a new attention to sound in music. The modern orchestra, he argued, should contain instruments capable of delivering the sounds of the industrial environment as well as those from nature. It is not hard to imagine how audiences of the time reacted to Russolo’s noise machines. Below are some extracts from The Art of Noises (l’arte di rumori).


At first the art of music sought purity, limpidity and sweetness of sound. Then different sounds were amalgamated, care being taken, however, to caress the ear with gentle harmonies. Today music, as it becomes continually more complicated, strives to amalgamate the most dissonant, strange and harsh sounds. In this way we come ever closer to noise-sound.
This musical evolution is paralleled by the multipication of machines, which collaborate with man on every front. Not only in the roaring atmosphere of major cities, but in the country too, which until yesterday was totally silent, the machine today has created such a variety and rivalry of noises that pure sound, in its exiguity and monotony, no longer arouses any feeling.
Although it is characteristic of noise to recall us brutally to real life, the art of noise must not limit itself to imitative reproduction. It will achieve its most emotive power in the acoustic enjoyment, in its own right, that the artist’s inspiration will extract from combined noises.

Here are the 6 families of noises of the Futurist orchestra which we will soon set in motion mechanically:

1 2 3 4 5 6
Noises obtained by percussion on metal, wood, skin, stone, tarracotta, etc. Voices of animals and men:

- Luigi Russolo, from The Art of Noises 1913


Additionally, here is a video of of two recreated Intonarumori in action.

John Cage (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist, printmaker,[1] and amateur mycologist and mushroom collector. A pioneer of aleatoric music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century.

from an extensive page on John Cage in Wikipedia

While it is difficult to imagine an avant garde composer as a guest on a TV game show, it seems to work quite well for John Cage. It is difficult to sum up Cage’s work and philosophy here (refer instead to the Wikipedia link above), but it is fair to say that Cage believed strongly in the practice of listening, of incorporating all sounds into our understanding of music. Even the laughter from the audience, which is not surprising considering this clip is from the year 1960 (51 years ago) when the vast majority of people watching would have never encountered anything like this.

Cage is absolutely unflappable as he goes about his business on stage, manipulating unusual objects (possibly selected in some cases for their humorous theatrical quality… good for TV) and marching back and forth across the stage.

Jul 282011

In Ceará, Brazil, Narcelio Grud has created one of the more impressive alternate uses for street signs the Urban Guide for Alternate Use has seen, and we’ve seen plenty. Narcelio transforms street signs around the city in to public instruments as part of his Musica Livre project. As the video above shows, the project is exceptional not only for its merits of installing DIY musical instruments throughout the city, but also for the range and inventiveness of the instruments themselves. From stringed instruments to xylophones, the city’s street signs’s new identities bring a smile and tune to anyone who passes by.
- The Urban Guide for Alternate Use

Scottish percussionist and composer Evelyn Glennie lost nearly all of her hearing by age 12. Rather than isolating her, it has given her a unique connection to her music. Why you should listen to her:

Evelyn Glennie’s music challenges the listener to ask where music comes from: Is it more than simply a translation from score to instrument to audience? How can a musician who has almost no hearing play with such sensitivity and compassion?

The Grammy-winning percussionist and composer became almost completely deaf by the age of 12, but her hearing loss brought her a deeper understanding of and connection to the music she loves. She’s the subject of the documentary Touch the Sound (you can watch the entire movie here), which explores this unconventional and intriguing approach to percussion.

Along with her vibrant solo career, Glennie has collaborated with musicians ranging from classical orchestras to Björk. Her career has taken her to hundreds of concert stages around the world, and she’s recorded a dozen albums, winning a Grammy for her recording of Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and another for her 2002 collaboration with Bela Fleck.

Her passion for music and musical literacy brought her to establish, in collaboration with fellow musicians Julian Lloyd Weber and Sir James Galway, the Music Education Consortium, which successfully lobbied for an investment of 332 million pounds in music education and musical resources in Britain.

- TED profile